By Alisa Khan, MD, a pediatric hospitalist and health services research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Christopher Landrigan, MD, MPH, director of Boston Children’s Inpatient Program, recently received the Community/Patient Empowerment Award at the National Pediatric Innovation Summit sponsored by the hospital.
Miscommunications are responsible for more than 70 percent of sentinel events in hospitals, according to The Joint Commission and the Department of Defense. A sentinel event happens when a patient has an injury related to medical care that wouldn’t normally be expected when treating that illness.
Boston Children’s has launched several successful projects to improve these communications. Its focus thus far has been on improving clinician-to-clinician communication during patient “handoffs”: the time when one doctor’s shift ends and another begins. These initiatives resulted in a 40 percent reduction in medical errors, and a 54 percent reduction in preventable adverse events (harmful, undesired events). Read more about it in this recent Vector post.
Domestic abuse often goes undiagnosed until too late — yet medical records often contain subtle clues that doctors often lack the time to fathom out. Now, researchers from the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program and Division of Emergency Medicine demonstrate that tapping commonly available electronic health records could help doctors spot abuse early. This display, designed for physicians, pulls a patient’s diagnostic history into one view, sounding an alert when the pattern of visits suggests possible domestic abuse.